Nov. 14, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Four Air Force water polo players were honored by the Western Water Polo Association today, as the league announced its annual awards, voted on by the league's coaches. Junior Josh Stedman was named a first-team All-WWPA selection, seniors Mike Fish and Cruz Smithson earned second-team all-conference recognition and rookie Ben Rogers was named to the WWPA All-Freshman Team.
Stedman repeats as a first-team WWPA selection after earning the honor in 2011. The attack from Brea, Calif., currently leads the Falcons in goals (56) and total points (74), while also recording a team-best 34 steals on the season. Stedman is just five points away from moving into the top-20 scorers all-time at the Academy.
Smithson earns the second all-conference accolade of his career after being named an honorable mention selection in 2011. The utility player from Capistrano Beach, Calif., currently ranks second on the team in goals (34) and third in points (50) this season. He also is the 11th-leading point scorer all-time at the Academy and needs just two more goals to become one of the top five goal scorers in Air Force history.
Fish, a goalkeeper from Manhattan Beach, Calif., receives all-conference honors for the first time in his career, as he leads the WWPA in total saves with 320 on the year. Additionally, Fish currently ranks fourth in Air Force history in career saves with 631.
Meanwhile, Rogers, a utility player from Thousand Oaks, Calif., was honored as an all-freshman team member after recording 10 goals, 11 assists and eight steals while starting 18 games for the Falcons.
In addition to releasing its all-conference teams, the WWPA also announced the winners of this year's major awards. UC San Diego junior Josh Stiling was named the WWPA Player of the Year, while Loyola Marymount freshman Milutin Mitrovic was named the league's Freshman of the Year. The Coach of the Year award will be announced at a later date.
Air Force, which currently holds a 16-10 record on the season, will head to the 2012 Western Water Polo Association Championship, hosted by Whittier, this week, Nov. 16-18. The third-seeded Falcons will face sixth-seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in their first game of the tournament, with the winner advancing to the semi-finals on Saturday.
2012 Western Water Polo Association Men's Water Polo Honors
Player of the Year: Josh Stiling (Jr.) - Driver - UC San Diego
Newcomer of the Year: Milutin Mitrovic (Fr.) - Attack - Loyola Marymount
Brian Donohoe (Sr., Driver) - UC San Diego
John Mikuzis (Jr., Center) - Loyola Marymount
Milutin Mitrovic (Fr., Attack) - Loyola Marymount
Cameron Ravenbach (So., Goalie) - UC San Diego
Josh Stedman (Jr., Attack) - Air Force
Josh Stiling (Jr., Driver) - UC San Diego
Kyle Testman (Sr., Goalie) - Loyola Marymount
Matt Vowell (Sr., Utility) - UC Davis
Brian Baier (Sr., 2-Meter Defense) - Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
John Butler (Sr., Driver) - UC San Diego
Jason Cox (Sr., Utility) - Pomona-Pitzer
Mike Fish (Sr., Goalie) - Air Force
Jimmy Moore (Jr., Driver) - Santa Clara
Chris Richardson (So., Utility) - UC Davis
Cruz Smithson (Sr., Utility) - Air Force
Honorable Mention All-WWPA
Tucker Carlson, (Jr., Utility) - Santa Clara
Brett Carter (Jr., Utility) - Chapman
Clint Freeman (Jr., Center) - Redlands
Goran Mataic (So., Center-Defense) - Whittier
Luke Syka (Jr., Utility) - UC San Diego
Collin Walters (Sr., Attack) - Loyola Marymount
WWPA All-Freshman Team
Philip Bates - UC Davis
Phillip Clayman - Pomona-Pitzer
Chase Cockerill - UC San Diego
Tanner Cullen - Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Douglas Marriott - Whittier
Milutin Mitrovic - Loyola Marymount
Ben Rogers - Air Force
James Rude - Santa Clara